8 Reasons to Eat Out During Restaurant Week Hawai‘i

The seven-day culinary event starts Nov. 16.
This cinnamon-spiced Ōra king salmon is part of the $48 prix fixe dinner menu at Roy's Hawai‘i Kai for Restaurant Week Hawai‘i, which starts Monday.
Photo: Courtesy of Roy's Hawai‘i Kai


When chef Arnoldo Masa Gushiken prepares the poached blue prawns at Bread + Butter, he holds the claws out of the boiling pot of water so they remain blue while the rest of the prawn cooks.


That’s how much effort is going into the tasting menu at the casual eatery near Ala Moana Center for Restaurant Week Hawai‘i, which starts Monday.


Bread + Butter is one of six new restaurants, which includes 53 By The Sea, Aja Sushi & Bento and Wood & Bucket Tapas Bar and Grill, in this year’s lineup.


Restaurant Week is a seven-day culinary event featuring more than 60 restaurants offering special menus and discounts. A portion of proceeds raised from every dining deal purchased all week will go toward Kapi‘olani Community College’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific, which is currently under construction at the former Fort Ruger Cannon Club site at Diamond Head.


This is the eighth year of Restaurant Week Hawai‘i. So here are eight reasons why you should ditch the diet, turn off the stove and head out to eat:


1. Try new menus

Six new restaurants joined the roster this year, but just about every restaurant serves something unique to Restaurant Week Hawai‘i. For example, Alan Wong’s will serve tilapia raised on a North Shore farm in its $65 prix fixe menu. As part of its $40, six-course dinner, Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar will offer double-braised Kurobuta kakuni with Tokyo negi and red bell peppers. And the lengthy dinner menu for the $59 prix fixe at The Pig and the Lady boasts three apps; a specialty pasta; a cuon (wrap) with local fish marinated in turmeric and galangal, fried in turmeric oil and served with rice vermicelli; a Northern Vietnamese noodle soup with braised beef shank and pickled chili; and two desserts.


2. Feed your truffle addiction

The tasting menu at Bread + Butter features two dishes including the highly addictive truffle: the decadent egg custard with a black truffle dashi, then topped with shaved black truffle and a white truffle float; and charred Kahuku corn, which accompanies the seared duck breast and foie gras dish, garnished with shaved black truffle.


The black truffle egg custard, featured on Bread + Butter’s tasting menu for Restaurant Week Hawai‘i.
Photo: Catherine Toth Fox


3. Cravings for Chicago Polish dogs

The always-creative Hank’s Haute Dogs is serving up the Ira Dog, in memory of Ira Helfer, the iconic Hot Dog King of Chicago, who died in 2014. Each year during the Sony Open, Helfer gave away thousands of Chicago Polish dogs out of his house along the Wai‘alae Golf Course. Naturally, the Ira Dog is a traditional Chicago-style dog with mustard, onions, very green relish, tomato, pickles and a sport pepper—and no ketchup. All that and natural-cut fries, Hank’s haute dipping sauce and a tropical refreshment for $10.


4. You love a deal

This is an affordable way to try or rediscover restaurants. For example, for $48, you can get a three-course dinner at Roy’s Hawai‘i Kai, which includes your choice of an entrée from this list: cinnamon-spiced Ōra king salmon; a sous vide and seared duck breast; or a 12-ounce New Zealand rack of lamb with a dark-chocolate demi glace. Even Rainbow Drive-In is offering a special mix plate combo. For $7.50, you get shoyu chicken, barbecue pork, two scoops of rice, macaroni salad and a large drink.


5. To support local

Many of the restaurants are highlighting locally sourced ingredients. Check out the $68 dinner menu at d.k. Steak House, which boasts Kaua‘i prawns, Hāmākua ali‘i mushrooms, Nalo Farms baby arugula, Small Kine Farms cremini mushrooms, herbed Naked Cow butter, Waimānalo Farms rosemary jus, Kunia grape tomato relish and locally caught ‘ahi.


6. There’s always room for dessert

Most restaurants this year include a dessert course with their prix fixe menus, so it’s not an option! Some, such as the $59 dinner menu at Beachhouse at the Moana and the $65 family-style dinner at Nobu Waikīkī, include two desserts. You don’t have to feel guilty ordering it—the restaurant is making you eat it.


7. It’s for a good cause

Restaurant Week Hawai‘i supports the construction of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, the state’s first four-year culinary program. The first $25 million phase of the 7.8-acre facility is slated to be completed by December 2016. It will include two culinary teaching labs, an advanced multifunction lab, an advanced Asian cuisine lab, one of two paved parking lots, an imu (oven) pit, farm plots, and infrastructure improvements such as water, electrical and sewer connections. Other phases will include the building of classrooms, office space, a 100-seat auditorium for cooking demonstrations, a 200-seat teaching restaurant and student lab, and two more baking and patisserie labs.


8. Because Roy said so

“My hope is that this institute becomes a real focal point for people from all over the Pacific Rim to come and gain that international experience,” says chef Roy Yamaguchi, an honorary chair of Restaurant Week Hawai‘i and whose restaurants have participated all eight years. “What’s really important for the students is that they become world-class chefs exposed to world-class cuisine. There’s a lot of beauty surrounding us in Hawai‘i, from the mountains to the ocean, but we can’t just rely on that. We need to up our cuisine. We need to be better stewards of sustainability. And I think CIP can really be part of that.”


Restaurant Week Hawai‘i takes place Nov. 16–22. See the menus at restaurantweekhawaii.com.